St. Paul’s Focus: John Porvaznik

By Tom Vaillancourt

In a galaxy a long, long time ago (March 1944 to be exact) there was born a young man by the name of John Porvaznik. And we care about this man, not only because he is a vestry member (two times over) of St. Paul’s Church, but because he has lived a life dedicated to his country and to his Christian faith. His father emigrated in 1929 from Slovakia and his mother was born in this country (Johnstown, PA). John was one of 12 children (6 brothers and 5 sisters). Early in life he learned the virtues of humility and hard work. In high school when he wasn’t doing school work, he did heavy manual labor on a nearby dairy farm. He graduated from Warwick High School in June of 1962 with his future wife, Carol. He and his brothers all served in various branches of the military; three, including John became career non-commissioned officers. He enlisted in the Air Force on March 7, 1963 and retired a senior master sergeant on July 1986. He was a Jet Engine Technician with a Top Secret Security Clearance whose skills were put to good use while maintaining Air Force One (Presidential Aircraft) from 1970 to 1981, with a one year break in Thailand from 1974 to 1975. Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan enjoyed the safety and peace of mind that John and fellow maintainers brought to the care of Air Force One.  After retiring from the Air Force he worked at British Aerospace Ltd as a spares and logistics planner. He moved back to Warwick, NY in 1999.

He and his wife Carol, of 54 years, were married on February 3, 1964. Carol, the love of John’s life, died on October 6, 2018. They had two children, Amber and John III. John and Carol began attending St. Paul’s in 2009 at a neighbor’s invitation.  In addition to being on the vestry presently, he has served as an assistant warden. Carol worked for many years as a church secretary at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Warwick.

John’s Christian faith came to a turning point at the age of 18 when his mother died of appendicitis. As a family of 12 children and one father, they faced incredible challenges, which in addition to accelerating their maturity and sense of responsibility, encouraged John into a more serious relationship with his God. It sensitized him for the rest of his life in seeing the hand of God working in and through many of his loved ones, friends, and neighbors.

John has enjoyed travel to England, Scotland, Alaska, Okinawa, and Thailand. He enjoys folk music especially that of Clearance Clearwater Revival. Reading has always been of interest, especially in history, biographies, and geography. He also applies his significant mechanical aptitude to fixing and taking apart anything that isn’t working that way it was meant to.

St. Paul’s congregation has been blessed to have John and Carol Porvaznik as members of their community. They have set exceedingly high examples of Christian discipleship from which all of us can learn. Their openness, charity, and faithfulness have lifted and blessed all of us.

And so the “force” looked back over the journey of this man, John, and how he had invested his time, talents, and money; and thought, yes, this was very, very good.

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